Did you know that hemp was one of the earliest domesticated crops in the world?
Here in the States, hemp was a mandatory crop at the Jamestown colony. However, it’s banned now, which is kind of ironic because our Declaration of Independence was actually drafted on hemp paper.
This ban is also a shame because hemp is an amazing plant that could solve a lot of our budget woes (one more thing to export, one less thing to import, and a whole new industry to be taxed.) The hemp industry just here in the States is valued at $500 million and growing. If we grew hemp here, and awareness about this amazing crop developed, this value would surely skyrocket.
One common misconception about hemp is that it’s the same as marijuana. This simply isn’t true. Hemp and marijuana are two distinctly separate species. Hemp is not a drug, and it won’t make you high if you smoke it. This erroneous misconception is the reason why lawmakers banned its cultivation back in the early 1970s, and why it’s still banned today.
There was a wonderful article in Forbes about the advantages of growing hemp here in the US. And I agree with the author…it would be a win-win for everyone.
Hemp: The Wonder Crop
Hemp is a wonder crop; just one acre of hemp will produce as much fibrous material as three acres of cotton. This means you get a lot more bang for your buck farming this plant. It’s naturally resistent to common pests, is stronger and softer than cotton, and will not mildew. And, unlike cotton, hemp needs a minimal amount of water and will grow in all 50 states.
Another amazing thing about hemp is the wide variety of products you can make with it. According to some sources, you can make over 25,000 products using hemp. I doubt there’s another material on earth with such a wide variety of uses.
- Clothing, bags, and purses (as we all know too well here at Earth Divas!)
- Plastic substitutes (Ford even made any early automobile prototype from hemp)
- Foods (Hemp can be used to make tofu, butter, ice cream, flour, milk, etc.)
- Paints and varnishes.
- Fiberboard and paper.
I could go on forever. It’s astonishing how versatile, strong, and useful the hemp plant is. And it’s sad that our farmers, and our country, is missing out on a lucrative and environmentally friendly cash-crop.
All of us here at Earth Divas love hemp. We use it to make many of our bags and purses, and we love it because it’s so environmentally friendly. Our hemp bags can be composted safely!
The good news is that the tide is slowly starting to shift for hemp. Awareness is growing, and many grassroots organizations are starting to pressure lawmakers to approve the growth of this wonderful crop. Hopefully, within the next ten years, hemp might be a respected crop just like corn, soybeans, and cotton are now.
Filed under: Hemp on June 7th, 2013